SEC alerts Cebu would-be investors vs. unauthorized lending firm

SEC alerts Cebu would-be investors vs. unauthorized lending firm

CEBU CITY – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Cebu extension office on Monday issued a warning to investors in Cebu who have dealt or are about to deal with a Luzon-based lending firm offering investment portfolios to the public without authority from the government.

Lawyer Alma Marie Estrada-Dalena, SEC-Cebu officer-in-charge, said an alert was issued against R.L. Aggregates and Diversified Lending Group, Inc. after the central office ordered the firm to stop soliciting investments from the public through a fraudulent scheme that involves the use of falsified registration documents.

Dalena said the SEC issued the order on July 27, directing R.L. Aggregates to immediately cease and desist from engaging in the unauthorized solicitation, offer and/or sale of securities in the form of investment contracts until the requisite registration statement is duly filed with and approved by the Commission.

“The SEC further enjoined the company to cease its internet presence relating to the transactions and investment scheme covered by the order,” she said in a statement, quoting SEC order.

With the order, the operators, directors, officers, representatives, salesmen and agents are now prohibited from transacting any business involving funds in its depository banks.

The statement said it cannot transfer, dispose, or convey any related assets of the company to ensure the preservation of the investors’ assets.

The company has an authorized capitalization of only PHP1.5 million.

The firm has a principal office at Circumferential Road in San Juan, Taytay, Rizal.

The order extends to the directors, namely: Roberto S. Llorente, Jennylyn M. Clemente, Patricio B. De Villa, Carlo S. Mamaril and Alvin C. Camanero, its operators, officers, representatives, salesmen, agents including Ashley Reyes, Maya Gonzalez, Randy Dela Cruz and Kenneth Daniel Papa, and any and all persons claiming, acting, and operating for and in their behalf.

According to the SEC, the order was issued after finding that the firm has been enticing the public to invest in the company in exchange for guaranteed returns of 1 percent per day or 30 percent per month over a lock-in period of three months.

The scheme requires potential investors to invest or deposit an amount ranging from PHP1,000 to PHP500,000, with dividends to be paid out every 15th and 30th of the month, she said.

With this, an investor with a capital of PHP1,000 will supposedly earn PHP150 every 15 days, or a total of PHP1,900 after three months.

Over the same period, those who invest PHP500,000 would receive a total of PHP950,000.

She said the scheme involves sale and offer of securities to the public in the form of investment contracts.

Dalena cited Section 8 of Republic Act 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code (SRC), which provides that securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the SEC.

R.L. Aggregates is registered with SEC and holds a certificate of authority to operate as a lending company.

However, it has never secured a secondary license to solicit investments from the public, as required under Sections 8 and 12 of the SRC.

An investigation by the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) revealed that the firm has been using an altered and falsified copy of its Articles of Incorporation (AoI), stating that “the corporation shall direct solicit, accept or take investments/placements from the public and shall issue investment contracts.”

The EIPD also found that it falsely declared that it is a mother company of cooperative and lending groups that caters to agriculture, small businesses and small-scale mining in Masbate.

“In this case, R.L. Aggregates intentionally used or allowed the use of a falsified AoI to make it appear to the investing public that it was duly authorized by the Commission to solicit, offer, accept, sell and/or take investments from the public. Through the falsified AoI, R.L. Aggregates was able to conveniently offer and/or sell unauthorized securities from investors by means of fraud,” Delana said, quoting SEC’s official statement. (PNA)

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